Dessert Museum

Had the chance to visit this Dessert Museum yesterday for our shoot with the wonderful crew of GMANewsTV’s Good News! My husband, Nikko and I will be featured on its Valentine episode on Monday, February 12, 2018 at 8:00 p.m.

The Dessert Museum will be open to the public on Saturday, February 10, 2018. It will be heaven for people who love to take cute photos as it features eight (8) rooms filled with fancy dessert-themed decorations: donuts, marshmallows, candy canes, ice cream, bubble gum, gummy bears, cotton candy, and cake. What’s more is that every room offers a free sample of those yummy sweet treats.

Tickets for a two-hour guided tour of the museum are priced at P799 during weekdays and P899 during weekends per person but discounted tickets at P699 per person are available when booking through their website: https://www.thedessertmuseum.com/

It is open from 10:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. but tickets are sold only until 8:00 P.M and is located at S Maison, Coral Way, Conrad Hotel Manila, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City.

Marshmallows

Cotton Candy

Donuts

Candy Canes

Cake

Marshmallows

Donuts

Donuts

Donuts

Jawbreaker

Jawbreaker

Ice Cream

Bubblegum

Bubble Gum

Gummy Bears

Cotton Candy

 

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Australia and New Zealand in 8 Days

Whenever we pick our next destination, we always consider where and how we can save most. We want to travel the whole world anyway, so why not start with the easier ones?

For the fourth installment of our honeymoon series, we booked tickets to Sydney, Australia via Cebu Pacific eight months early (we were literally at the boarding gate for our trip to Dubai when we booked because there was an ongoing seat sale). We intended to have just a 5-day trip from October 28 to November 1, 2017. It was the perfect vacation because we just had to take a day off from work considering that October 28 and 29 was a weekend, and October 31 and November 1 were national holidays. However, plans changed when we were notified by Cebu Pacific in September that our November 1 return flight was cancelled and moved to November 2 (which was a Thursday). Of course, they offered us either a refund or a change in schedule. Then, we thought, maybe it would be better to move our return flight to the following Sunday, November 5, and maybe visit New Zealand, too.

While trying to build an itinerary for 8 Days in both Australia and New Zealand, and checking visa requirements for both countries, we realized that New Zealand has waived its visa fees for Filipino passport holders since early this year. On the other hand, Australia still requires the P5,700 tourist visa fee for Filipino passport holders. We thought the Australian visa fee was too steep for such a short visit and explored the possibility of just going to New Zealand for the entire duration of our trip.

Upon researching some more, we found out that since we were going to take another flight with a different airline from Sydney to New Zealand (at that point, we weren’t sure where in New Zealand yet), we needed to apply for a transit visa from the Australian Embassy, which is free of charge (we just have to pay for processing fees), because we needed to exit the immigration gates and pick up our luggage at the baggage carousel, and re-enter the immigration gates after checking-in for our flight to New Zealand. Since a transit visa is valid for up to 72 hours from entry to Australia, we thought of staying a few days in Sydney and tour the city as well, just like we had originally planned.  (NOTE: A transit visa is primarily for transit, meaning the applicant must be able to prove to the embassy that he or she is in Australia to transit to another country.)

The next challenge was how to fit everything we wanted to do into an 8-Day itinerary.

New Zealand is divided into two main islands, the North Island and South Island. While North Island is home to Hobbiton and Auckland City, South Island boasts of majestic sceneries like the Southern Alps and pristine turquoise-colored lakes. Several blogs advise to just focus on either the North Island or the South Island for a one or two-week trip. Considering we had to allot a couple of days in Sydney, and another day for our return flight to Manila, we were left with just five days to spend in New Zealand. For days, we contemplated on whether we should just focus on one island but we couldn’t resist the charm of both Hobbiton and the Southern Alps. Hence, we came up with the itinerary below:

Day 0 – Flight to Sydney

Days 1 to 3 – Sydney

Day 3.5 – 5 – North Island (Hobbiton and Rotorua as our intended destinations)

Day 5.5 to 7 – South Island (Mt. Cook, Lake Tekapo, Castle Hill, Akaroa as our intended destinations)

Day 8 – Flight to Sydney, then Manila

We mostly walked and used public transportation (i.e. the train system) during our three days in Sydney. However, in New Zealand, cars are still the best form of transportation, and so we had to rent one to be able to drive around (NOTE: People in New Zealand drive on the left side of the road, and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car. A tourist who has a driver’s license in his or her own country may drive in New Zealand for a period not more than 12 months. We’ll write about driving in New Zealand on a separate article.)

It was our first time in the continent of Australia, and we had the most amazing time visiting both countries! We were able to tour the harbor cities of Sydney and Auckland, have breakfast with the koalas and see different species of animals native to Australia, ride the steepest furnicular railway in the world, swim at a world-famous beach, visit the Hobbiton movie set, hike to see a glacier lake in the end, and take one of the most scenic drives in the world.

Here’s our actual itinerary:

October 28

  • 12:00 AM – Flight from Manila to Sydney
  • 10:00 AM (Sydney Time) – Arrival in Sydney (Click here for the best accommodation deals in Sydney.)
  • 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM – DIY City tour (The Rocks, Sydney Observatory, Sydney Harbor Bridge, Opera House, Circular Quay, Royal Botanic Garden, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Hyde Park, Market St.)

October 29

  • 7:00 AM – Darling Harbour
  • 7:30 AM – Breakfast with the Koalas and Sydney Wild Life Zoo
  • 11:00 AM – Traveled to Blue Mountains via train
  • 1:00 PM – Blue Mountains: Three Sisters, Echo Point, Scenic World
  • 6:00 PM – Traveled back to Sydney
  • 8:00 PM – Dinner at Darling Harbour

October 30

  • 7:00 AM – Bondi Beach
  • 10: 00 AM – Sydney Tower Eye, Queen Victoria Mall
  • 3:45 PM – Flight to Auckland, New Zealand
  • 8:45 PM (Auckland time) — Arrived in Auckland, New Zealand

October 31

  • 7:00 AM – Explored Auckland City (Aotea Square, Auckland Tower) (Click here for the best accommodation deals in Auckland City.)
  • 9:00 AM – Drove to Hobbiton, Matamata
  • 12:00 PM – Hobbiton Tour
  • 2:00 PM – Drove to Rotorua
  • 3:30 PM – Redwoods Forest
  • 5:30 PM – Te Puia (Geyser and Maori Cultural Heritage Site)
  • 6:30 PM – Drove to Lake Taupo
  • 7:30 PM – Huka Falls, Lake Taupo
  • 8:30 PM – Drove back to Auckland City
  • 11:30 PM – Arrived in Auckland City

November 1

  • 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM – Explored Auckland City (One Tree Hill, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Auckland Harbour)
  • 1:00 PM – Flight to Christchurch City
  • 2:00 PM – Arrival in Christchurch City (Click here for the best accommodation deals in Christchurch.)

November 2

  • 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM — Day trip to Akaroa (Click here for the best accommodation deals in Akaroa)
  • 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM — Explore Christchurch City (Transitional Cardboard Cathedral, Christchurch Cathedral, Container Mall, Avon River, North Hagley Park, Christchurch Botanic Gardens
  • 9:00 PM – Dinner at INATI

November 3

  • 10:00 AM – Drove to Castle Hill
  • 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM – Explored Castle Hill
  • 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM – Drove to Lake Tekapo (Click here for the best accommodation deals in Lake Tekapo.)
  • 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM – Visited Lake Tekapo and Church of Good Shepherd

November 4

  • 7:00 AM – Drove to Lake Pukaki
  • 8:00 AM – Lake Pukaki
  • 9:00 AM – Drove to Mt. Cook National Park (Click here for the best accommodation deals in Mt. Cook National Park.)
  • 10:00 AM – Arrival in Mt. Cook National Park
  • 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM – Hooker Valley Hike
  • 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM – Drove to Christchurch

November 5

  • 6:00 AM (Christchurch Time) – Flight to Sydney
  • 9:00 AM (Sydney Time) – Arrival in Sydney
  • 1:00 PM (Sydney Time) – Flight to Manila
  • 6:00 PM (Manila Time) – Arrival in Manila

Budget/expenses, visa application, and detailed guides on the places we visited to follow.

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11 Countries in 2017

2017 was a wonderful year for us not just because we got married but also because we were able to travel to different places together. Since we love travelling, we planned for our honeymoon to be in installments but we never thought we would be able to go to as many countries as we have the past year.

In 2017, our first year as a married couple, we were able to visit 11 countries:

  • United Arab Emirates
  • Japan
  • Taiwan
  • The Netherlands
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Switzerland
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

We often get asked, especially by followers of our page and this blog, how we are able to travel frequently. They ask if we are still employed and for some advice.

To those who don’t know, we have regular office jobs so yes, we don’t have all the time in the world to travel. We just rely on our accumulated vacation leaves and non-working holidays. We usually plan ahead (i.e. we booked our Dubai tickets for February 2017 in October 2016; our Japan tickets for May 2017 in January 2017; our Australia tickets for October 2017 in February 2017; and our Netherlands tickets for June 2017 in October 2016).

We’d also like to think we’re practical travelers, always on the lookout for seat sales and promos. Actually, since we want to travel the whole world anyway, we choose our next destination based on seat sales (i.e. We got our Dubai tickets for just around P12,000 each; Japan for P6,000; Netherlands for P33,000; and Australia for P12,000)

While we love 5-star hotels (who doesn’t?), we as much as possible go for standard accommodation (i.e. 3 to 4-star hotels and Airbnb) without sacrificing cleanliness and comfort. Since we’d be most of the time out of the hotel anyway, we always stick to practical accommodation. It also helps that we run a travel agency by ourselves, so we have access to good deals. Believe it or not, sometimes, travel agencies can still offer better deals than websites.

Lastly, while we are able to travel to different places, our priority is still having savings for our future. We live by a total budget and we set aside just a percentage of our income for travel. We stick to that travel budget and work with it. Thankfully, we have our side businesses (i.e. Sophisticat Shoes and the travel agency) to supplement our salaries.

Thank you, Lord for an amazing 2017! Excited for the rest of 2018! ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fukuoka, Japan for P23,385 per person ALL-IN

For the second part of our honeymoon series, we visited Japan for the second time. Nonetheless, it was our first time in the Kyushu Region (southern Japan), and the Fukuoka Prefecture. We were able to score cheap tickets from Manila via Cebu Pacific (approximately $120 each person, round-trip) and the trip was just in time for Japan’s Golden Week, when the wisterias of the Kawachi Fujien were expected to be in full bloom.

Email us at couplemeetsworld@gmail.com for specialized and discounted travel packages to anywhere in the world!

ITINERARY

Day 1

3:20 P.M. Departure from Manila, Philippines (Philippine Time)

8:20 P.M. Arrival in Fukuoka, Japan (Japan Time) and Check-in at our AirBNB near Hakata Station

Day 2

10:00 A.M. Leave Hakata Station for Nokonoshima Island

3:00 P.M. Leave Nokonoshima Island for Ohori Park

5:45 P.M. Leave Ohori Park for Dinner in Tenjin

Day 3

10:00 A.M. Leave Hakata Station for Nanzoin Temple (Reclining Buddha)

12:00 P.M. Leave Nanzoin Temple for Beppu, Oita (A two-hour train ride)

2:30 P.M. Arrival in Beppu, Oita

2:45 P.M. Start of Hells of Beppu Tour

5:45 P.M. Leave Beppu Station for Hakata

7:45 P.M. Arrival in Hakata Station

Day 4

8:00 A.M. Leave Hakata Station for Kawachi Fuji-en

10:00 A.M. Arrival in Kawachi Fuji-en

12:00 P.M. Leave Kawachi Fuji-en for Uminonakamachi Seaside Park

2:00 P.M. Arrival in Uminonakamachi Seaside Park

5:00 P.M. Leave Uminonakamachi Seaside Park for the Airport

8:20 P.M. Departure from Fukuoka Airport.


EXPENSES for 2 persons:

Round-trip flights (MNL-FUK-MNL) P6,000 x 2 = P12,000

Philippine Travel Tax P1,620 x 2 = P3,240

AIRBNB for 3 nights = P10,500

Bus from Airport to Hakata Station = 260 Yen or roughly P120 per person x 2 = P240.

Japan Railway 3-day Northern Kyushu Rail Pass = 8500 Yen or roughly P4200 per person x 2 = P8400.

Nokonoshima Island Park = 1000 Yen per person or roughly P450 per person x 2 = P900.

Hells of Beppu Tour = 3740 Yen per person or roughly P1600 per person x 2 = P3200.

Kawachi Fuji-en = 1500 Yen per person (blooming season) or roughly P675 per person x 2 = P1350

Uminonakamachi Seaside Park = 410 Yen per person or roughly P200 per person x 2 = P400.

Train from Hakata Station to Fukuoka Airport = 260 Yen or roughly P120 per person x 2 = P240.

Food for 3 Days and 3 Nights = P350 per meal x 2 persons x 3 meals x 3 days = P6300

TOTAL: P46,770 / 2 persons = P23,385 per person ALL-IN.

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Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI CITY TOUR FOR P1,999 (with Ferrari World at P4,500)

See also: Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Email us at couplemeetsworld@gmail.com or contact 09175793958.

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the U.A.E. and is home of its President. It also houses the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is the largest mosque in the country.

Abu Dhabi City Tour consists of a visit to:

  1. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
  2. Abu Dhabi Corniche
  3. Emirates Palace
  4. Drive Through Presidential Palace
  5. Heritage Village
  6. Abu Dhabi Marina Mall
  7. Islamic Art Museum
  8. Dates Market
  9. Drive To Saadiyat
  10. Yas Island; and
  11. Ferrari World Photo Stop

 

 

 

 

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Ferrari World

Watch our video below, which was featured by Dubai FB page:

 

Dubai and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Choosing a honeymoon destination isn’t easy. The world is filled with amazing places that a lifetime with your partner will never be enough to check out all the marvels God created.

As much as possible, we want our entire married life to be our honeymoon. It may be challenging but based on stories of happy couples, we’re confident that it’s feasible. So yes, we booked four different trips this year.

To start off, we picked Dubai.

We picked Dubai not just because we found cheap airline tickets for it but because we wanted our first honeymoon destination to be different from what we have been to. It was the first time we were going to a different country by ourselves, and of course, we wanted it to be special. We were looking for a mix of modern and traditional, laid-back and busy, somewhere with sun, sand, water, skyscrapers, and of course, adventure. Surely, Dubai gave us all that and more.

Dubai is one of the seven that make up the United Arab Emirates. It is home to Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, and Burj Al Arab, the only 7-star hotel.

Dubai is a very expensive city. Since some people are asking about our itinerary and budget, we intend to present it to you in our blog, along with affordable travel packages that you might want to check out (if you would remember, we run a travel agency, and we’re DTI-registered, yay!) and how to get a tourist visa. Surprisingly, a trip to Dubai could be affordable.

Highlights of this trip include:

  1. Dubai City Tour – Jumeirah Mosque, Jumeirah Beach, Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa
  2. Desert Safari – Camel riding, ATV desert ride, Dune bashing, Arabic cultural show
  3. DIY Trips – Dubai Garden Glow at the Zabeel Park, Dubai Mall, Dubai Miracle Garden, Dubai Creek, Gold Souk

3 DAYS AND 3 NIGHTS IN DUBAI AND ABU DHABI FOR P25,518 ALL-IN

February 15 to 18, 2017

We chose Dubai and Abu Dhabi as our honeymoon destination not just because we found cheap airline tickets for it but because we wanted something different from what we have been to. It was the first time we were going to a different country by ourselves, and of course, we wanted it to be special. We were looking for a mix of modern and traditional, laid-back and busy, somewhere with sun, sand, water, skyscrapers, and of course, adventure. Surely, the United Arab Emirates gave us all that and more.

Dubai is one of the seven that make up the United Arab Emirates. It is home to Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, and Burj Al Arab, the only 7-star hotel. It is an expensive city but surprisingly, a trip to Dubai could be affordable.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi is the capital of the U.A.E. and is home of its President. It also houses the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is the largest mosque in the country.

Here’s an ideal itinerary with expenses for a 3-day and 3-night trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi (5 days including the 9-hour per way flight):

Day 1

Flight from Manila, PH to Dubai International Airport (DXB), United Arab Emirates

  • Departure from Manila: 3:20 pm
  • Arrival in Dubai: 9:40 pm

(Flying time is around 9 hours)

Check-in at the hotel.

Day 2

9:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m.

  • Dubai City Tour (Gold Souq and Spice Souq, Photo Stop at Dubai Creek, Drive through Jumeira Road, Jumeirah Mosque, Photo Stop at Burj Al Arab, Tour of Palm Jumeria and Atlantis Photo Stop, Sheikh Zayeh Road)

3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

  • Desert Safari (4×4 Dune Bashing, Camel Rides, Sand Boards, Henna Painting, Local Costume Photography, Live Tanura Show, Live Belly Dance, Live Fire Show, Arabic Tea coffee, Dates, Barbecue, Dinner Buffet and Unlimited Water and Soft drinks)

Day 3

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • Abu Dhabi City Tour (Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi Corniche, Emirates Palace, Drive Through Presidential Palace, Heritage Village, Abu Dhabi Marina Mall, Islamic Art Museum, Dates Market, Drive To Saadiyat. Yas Island and Ferrari World Photo Stop

Day 4

Check-out from the hotel

Free Day until departure from DXB

Day 5

11:00 a.m.

  • Arrival in Manila, PH (Flying time: 9 hours)

Expenses:

Flights – P9,800 (Cebu Pacific’s seat sale)

Philippine Travel Tax – P1,620

Hotel/Accommodation – P8,500 (twin sharing at the Al Farej Hotel, a 3-star hotel) including Round-trip airport transfers and breakfast

Dubai City Tour – P1,600

Desert Safari with Dinner Buffet – P1,999

Abu Dhabi City Tour – P1,999

 

Total: P25,518.

 

We can arrange this travel package for you at the same price. We offer land arrangements (hotel/accommodations and transfers) at Dubai for only P8500 per person and optional tours at the above-mentioned rates Please send us an email at couplemeetsworld@gmail.com for further inquiries and other options.

The itinerary above pretty much covers most of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. However, since we wanted to make the most out our limited time in Dubai, we added some DIY tours of our own, which of course, cost us more. Here is our actual itinerary:

Day 1

Flight from Manila, PH to Dubai International Airport (DXB), United Arab Emirates

  • Departure from Manila: 3:20 pm
  • Arrival in Dubai: 9:40 pm

(Flying time is around 9 hours)

Check-in at the hotel. (We stayed at the Somewhere Hotel Tecom, which is a lovely, clean hotel)

Day 2

9:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m.

  • Dubai City Tour (Gold Souq and Spice Souq, Photo Stop at Dubai Creek, Drive through Jumeira Road, Jumeirah Mosque, Photo Stop at Burj Al Arab, Tour of Palm Jumeria and Atlantis Photo Stop, Sheikh Zayeh Road)

3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

  • Desert Safari (4×4 Dune Bashing, Camel Rides, Sand Boards, Henna Painting, Local Costume Photography, Live Tanura Show, Live Belly Dance, Live Fire Show, Arabic Tea coffee, Dates, Barbecue, Dinner Buffet and Unlimited Water and Soft drinks)

9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

  • Dubai Garden Glow at the Zabeel Park (60 AED per person + taxi fare)

Day 3

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • Abu Dhabi City Tour (Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi Corniche, Emirates Palace, Drive Through Presidential Palace, Heritage Village, Abu Dhabi Marina Mall, Islamic Art Museum, Dates Market, Drive To Saadiyat. Yas Island and Ferrari World Photo Stop

7:00 p.m. to 12:00 M.N.

  • Dubai Mall for the dancing fountain show

Day 4

  • Dubai Miracle Garden (50 AED per person + taxi fare)
  • Souk Madinat Jumeirah (no entrance fee since it is a mall; taxi fare)
  • Gold Souk (no entrance fee since it’s a market; taxi fare)

Departure from DXB

Day 5

11:00 a.m.

  • Arrival in Manila, PH (Flying time: 9 hours)

Please note that for Filipino passport holders, a VISA is required to enter Dubai. We will write about getting one for our next entry. Note that we also offer visa assistance.

Watch our video below, which was featured by Dubai FB page:

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Miyajima (Itsukushima Island), Hiroshima, Japan

June 21, 2016

Still part of anniversary was our trip to Miyajima Island in the Hiroshima Prefecture. It is known for the floating Torii gate, which fronts the Itsukushima Shrine and is believed to be the boundary between the spirit and human worlds. The Torii gate is also part of the Three Scenic Views of Japan (just like Amanohashidate). We particularly chose to visit it at low tide, so we could walk around the gate and fly the drone (LOL).

Some scenes of the Wolverine movie were shot in this island, which also has cute deers roving.

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Amanohashidate, Kyoto, Japan

June 20, 2016

While looking for places to visit in the Kansai region, we stumbled upon articles on this quiet, little place called Amanohashidate, which is one of the Three Scenic Views of Japan, according to Edo period literary artist and scholar Hayashi Gaho. It is located in Miyazu Bay, northern Kyoto.

From Amanohashidate Station, we had to take a ferry and a monorail to the Kasamatsu Park and do “Matanozoki“ to see the breath-taking view of the heaven’s bridge through an upside down bend. We were also able to bike the 3-km. stretch of the Amanohashidate sandbar. It was good we purchased the Amanohashidate Pass (for just 1400 yen per person!), which already covered the ferry ride, chair lift, bike, and train ride from JR Fukuchiyama station (the farthest covered by our rail pass) to Amanohashidate station.

We highly recommend visiting this place!

 

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Osaka, Japan: Dotonbori

June 19, 2016

For Father’s Day this year, we had dinner at the Daikosusan Revolving Sushi in Dotonbori Street, Osaka. Dotonbori Street is known as a food haven for tourists and Japanese alike. After sushifest, we still had space in our stomachs to try out other Japanese food such as Okonomiyaki, Kobe Beef, and Takoyaki Balls.

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Osaka 013

 

Conquering the world together since 2004.